Gilles Gratton was one of pro hockey’s most colorful characters. He had a short, tumultuous career in the NHL and WHA in the 1970s, and is better known for his awesome goalie mask and strange behavior than for stopping pucks. He had enough talent to land six-figure contracts and play for Canada internationally. Sometimes, Gratton was said to be an even better goalie than Ken Dryden — when he felt like playing. But Gratton had almost no desire to play pro hockey. Now, almost 40 years after he retired from the game, Gratton decided to write a tell-all of his, ahem, interesting career.
When Gordie Howe passed away earlier this month, he left behind a legacy that will never be matched. Sure, Wayne Gretzky surpassed Howe in points, but even Gretzky has repeatedly stated that Howe was the greatest. No other player has skated 26 seasons in the NHL. And while Jaromir Jagr may surpass that record, he would be hard-pressed to play until he was 52 years old.
Howe was the power forward that all other power forwards want to be. He could score and intimidate. He was mean on the ice, and yet his opponents have nothing but kind words to say about Mr. Hockey.
Because his career was so long — 26 years in the NHL and 6 years in the WHA — Howe had many trading cards released during his wonderful career. Here we take a look at some of Mr. Hockey’s best hockey cards.
The Quebec Nordiques released a set of 20 postcards during the 1976-77 season, back when the team was still a part of the World Hockey Association. Like so many other team-issued postcard sets, this set is minimalist, with basic color photos on the front and scant information on the back. These postcards give us a good look back at a time when hair was long and helmets were few and far between.
Wayne Gretzky Indianapolis Racers “pre-RC” from the 1990s
In the early 1990s, a different kind of fake Wayne Gretzky card surfaced. Instead of counterfeiting Gretzky’s 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee rookie card, an enterprising crook decided to take things one step further, and make a card of Gretzky as a member of the Indianapolis Racers. Continue reading “Card of the Week: The Fake One”